DINING OUT - RECIPES BY NOI
A romantic night out
at the Anantara
By Shana Kongmun
I confess it is actually pretty rare for me to
go for the “posh” hotel dinner, but when a friend asked me
out to say thanks (for what I am not sure since he managed
to succeed on his merit but that’s a different story), I
jumped at the chance for some of the delicious Indian food
on offer at the Anantara (formerly the Chedi for those who
are unsure) and breathtaking location of the former British
Consulate in Chiang Mai.
The location cannot be beat, and while mine was not a
romantic dinner out, there were more than a few couples
enjoying the beautiful ambiance of the stunning old building
and the riverside location allowing views up and down the
Ambiance is, of course, to be expected at a restaurant of
this caliber, and the Anantara ticked all the boxes. But of
course, dining out is all about food. Executive Chef
Prabhash Prabhakaran, from the Indian state of Kerala, did
an outstanding job offering us a special tasting menu,
luckily the tasting menu covers dishes on the relatively new
menu and while everything was tasty, his fusion style mixing
Thai, western and Indian flavors and dishes, my personal
favorite was the lamb tandoori. The lamb was divine, tender
and tasty, with the flavors of the tandoori but none of the
potential dryness that can come with cooking in a tandoori
This is not your traditional heavy rather oily Indian food
but dishes with the flavors of India but with a light and
healthier feeling. I love Indian food and confess to
enjoying the rather heavy filling nature of most Indian
food. However, this meal left me feeling full but not
weighed down like a ton of bricks.
It is the Anantara so it may not be for a regular dinner out
but for fine dining in an incredible location with fantastic
food, it comes highly recommended.
RECIPES BY NOI: Kang Hoi (freshwater snail curry)
Freshwater snail can be easily found in natural ponds,
rivers and rice fields. They are friendlier to plants and
rice than the golden apple snail because they are very shy
creature. They mostly live in mud but do not procreate
prolifically like the golden apple snail which is also very
greedy and eats everything!
There are 3 foods (as I know) that villagers will not cook
for visitors or guests otherwise something bad will happen
in their relationships and they will never see each other
again. Those are eggs, duck and snail. I don’t really know
why but perhaps it may be that eggs are too simple, duck is
too much work and snails, well, maybe it’s from a Jataka - a
story from the former incarnation of the Lord Buddha where a
family really liked to eat freshwater snails. One day the
family went to collect snails from the rice fields and took
them back home, in the evening the mother said to her
children that she would cook snails for breakfast. When the
snails heard this they started crying and complaining of how
pathetic their lives had been. They have no legs to run when
birds or a man is trying to catch them, never see the moon,
never see their lovers’ faces. That’s extremely sad and also
they have to move from place to place by sliding their faces
on the mud!!!
It’s quite true but sometimes we have no choice on what to
eat, especially living in a village far away from the
supermarket. Everyone needs to eat to survive and work hard
in rice fields. So, we eat freshwater snails even though
they live sad lives.
First clean the snails and cut their tails so it will make
us easily suck the snail out from their shells. Then prepare
chili paste. We need to pound dry chili, garlic and
lemongrass together and then add into the hot boiling water
with the snails. Add some young Cha-Om (Acacia) or Pak Chee
Farang (Thai parsley) which is added after the snails are
cooked. Finally add roasted rice powder so the curry is not
too watery. We also can add whatever vegetable we like into
the curry, there’s no rule about this.
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